Bruins end Mercy’s reign in IAAM B lacrosse on Frank’s overtime goal (VIDEO HERE!)
2021 IAAM B CONFERENCE LACROSSE CHAMPIONS
PARK SCHOOL BRUINS
by Nelson Coffin
After tearfully celebrating Park School’s overtime victory over Mercy in the IAAM B Conference lacrosse championship Friday night, Becca Frank and her senior mates ran out to midfield to receive the championship plaque and glass bowl trophy.
Frank grabbed the plaque and held it tightly in photos and interviews. She more than earned the right.
Frank’s Herculean effort lifted the Bruins to an 10-9 overtime decision over previously undefeated Mercy at USA Lacrosse’s Tierney Field in Sparks. The American University recruit scored four goals, including the game-winner with 2.1 seconds left in the extra session, giving the Old Court Road school its first IAAM B crown since 2013.
She dominated in the circle, winning 18-of-23 draws, including overtime. The Bruins (14-2 overall), in a two-man advantage in the closing seconds, got the ball to Frank, who bullied her way inside the 8-meter arc and drew a foul to set up a free position shot.
The 5-foot-10 midfielder rifled the ball over the shoulder of Magic senior goalie Caleigh Forti, setting off an emotional celebration.
“I was going to go low, but then they were on me and I just ended up going high. I knew if it didn’t go our way, we gave everything we had out on the field,” said Frank. “But we just dug deep, kept our composure and got the goals we needed.”
Forti, who made several tough saves during the contest, had stuffed Frank from the doorstep with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Park coach Robin Cardin Lowe said that her team was well aware of Forti’s prowess between the pipes.
“She a really good goalie,” she said. “We spent a lot of time shooting this week in practice.”
The Bruins, who fell to Mercy, 15-8 and 15-5, in league play this spring, used better aim and more patience during seven-on-seven offensive sets were part of the formula devised to take down the three-time defending champs.
“We stuck with our game plan,” Cardin Lowe said about Park’s deliberate maneuvering against Mercy’s stout defense that had allowed an average of just 3.5 goals per game coming into the final. “We valued the ball. And draw controls were huge.”
“We knew what Becca was capable of doing,” Mercy coach Brian Casserly said, “We had no choice, so we threw a lot of people at her. But all the credit goes to her. And with Becca having such a banner day on the draws, that made it very tough.”
Casserly said that he wasn’t surprised by Park’s methodical pace.
“We’re pretty much known as a team that likes to get up and down the field,” said Casserly, whose team’s 17-game winning streak, dating back to 2019, was snapped Friday. “So if I was coaching against us, I would have slowed things down, too.”
Frank was especially effective in the first half, using her long reach to snare the ball off the draw while winning 12 of the first 13 attempts.
Even so, Mercy (14-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by freshman attacker Ashley Martin and junior midfielder Savannah Safchuck.
Park then knotted the score on answers by senior midfielder Rebecca Himelfarb and freshman midfielder Cassandra Kitchen before Safchuck and Himmelfarb traded goals and Frank and Safchuck did the same to make it 4-4 with 9:44 left in the half.
The Bruins then went on a 4-1 run to bolster there advantage to 8-5 early in the second half until Mercy stormed back with consecutive goals by senior attacker Madison Laine, freshman attacker Lainey Schmith, freshman midfielder Jamie Collender (twice) and Safchuck to build a 10-8 cushion with just over 15 minutes left in regulation.
Park’s ‘D’ then clamped down while the offense went back the work to forge the final tie on goals by senior attacker Callie Krosin and Frank on an inside roll to set the stage for the fateful overtime.
“I’ve been wanting this since I was in middle school,” said Frank, plaque in hand. “This means everything.”
IAAM B CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
AT TIERNEY FIELD, USA LACROSSE
PARK SCHOOL 10, MERCY 9 (OT)
Goals: Park-Becca Frank 4, Rebecca Himelfarb 3, Cassandra Kitchen 2, Anna Stamatos, Callie Krosin; Mercy-Savannah Safchuck 4, Jamie Collender 2, Madison Laine 2, Ashley Martin, Laney Schmith.
Assists: Park-Becca Frank, Rebecca Himelfarb, Cassandra Kitchen; Mercy-Jamie Collender 2, Gretchen Lochte, Mickey Burnette, Sydney Casserly.
Saves: Park-Bianca Nolan 5; Mercy-Caleigh Forti 8.
Park 7 2 1 — 10
Mercy 5 4 0 — 9